Twas’ the night before the first Biochem exam

Hello everyone! I hope everything is enjoying the nice weather (I am pretty sure I brought some of California with me).  First, I would like to talk very briefly about the MSHP (Minnesota Society of Health System Pharmacists) mid-year meeting  that I attended last Friday.  The organization primarily focuses on hospital pharmacy, so I decided this would be a good meeting to go to since I work in a hospital.  It was great learning about some clinical topics (I went to a presentation called “Urine good hands” focused on how to dose dialysis patients) and  participating in the student leadership workshop where we did small-group presentations on different hospital pharmacy topics.

Being a student at a very early part of my career, I know I have so much to learn- this learning can should take place in the classroom, the practice site, and professional meetings like this one! While the amount of potential networking was a little bit overwhelming, I am so glad I decided to attend this meeting as a first year because I know what to expect next time.  As a bonus, I got some cool swag- hand sanitizer shaped as an insulin pen and a placebo Combivent inhaler to play with!

Photo Sep 19, 5 36 33 PM

The meeting was at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brookyln Center. It was completely colonial themed!

Photo Sep 19, 5 34 55 PM

My awesome PD1 work friends and I trying to act like we have been here before.


So what else is going on in the PD1 life? Most significantly, we have our first exam tomorrow.  I have been so busy this past week that I realized I had not posted yet! So, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and have my post of the week be a poem dedicated to our test tomorrow. I learned in the process that “Twas’ the Night before Christmas” is sort of a long poem……. but I am the master of finding ways to procrastinate so I decided to commit to matching every line with a rhyme… and I guess it was sort of a form of review? While I think my classmates will understand this best, anyone who is even a bit of a science nerd can always appreciate some poetic biology.

Twas’ night before the first Biochemistry exam

‘Twas the night before the first Biochemistry exam, when all through the house
Not a creature was sleeping, but instead wondering: “what is gauche?”
The flashcards were written by fancy colored pens with care,
In hopes that drawing alpha-D-glucopyranose will not be a scare;

We were stuffed with information in our heads;
Knowing we will use it all one day to choose our patients’ right meds
And some using their Keurig, and I drinking my frap,
Thinking about Tuesday when we could finally nap,

When out in the class Facebook group there arose such a chatter,
I sprang to my computer to see what was the matter.
But then away from the page I flew like a flash,
Realizing there was still more I needed to add to my brain’s cache
While I wanted a break to watch a TV show,
I decided to keep studying since there is still some stuff I did not know

When what to my tired eyes did appear,
But a problem telling me to draw not D-mannose, but its reflection in a mirror
With a little old pencil so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment how to draw that molecule as a ball-and-stick
But all the sugars, look somewhat the same,
And indeed are quite the difficult head-game:

Now, Sulfate! now, amide! Now Amino and Phosphate!
On, Furanose! on, Pyranose! on, Haworth or Straight!
To the top of the sugar! is what we call beta!
Now please say! Please say! It can mutarotate into alpha later!

As papers of notes of amino acids fly,
I just look at ones like Histidine and start to sigh;
So I draw them over and over as a form of review
Until I know them all, and their properties too —

And then, in a inkling, I remember proline is aloof
It’s rigidity makes secondary structure go poof .
As I drew it in my head, and then wrote it down
I saw, indeed the way the atoms are placed makes it look round

Many lectures were watched without lifting a foot,
Thank you ITV for letting me re-check the notes that I put;
Watching podcasts in double time is a good old life hack
But sometimes Ferguson writes too fast and I have a panic attack

Those structures—how they were sprinkled! Every lecture, how scary!
Dr. Ferguson said it was easy, but those sphingosines made us wary
Constantly asking him what we would have to know,
Fearing that the contents in our brains would soon overflow
When we learned how to draw the gangliosides covering myelin sheath,
Everyone needed to pay attention, even Keith;

Missing the relaxed days of Becoming a Pharmacist with Paul Ranelli
When we had no exams and could just relax  or eat Pot Belly
But we know the knowledge is essential for developing ourself,
And for knowing the science to pick the right drug off the shelf;

Though next time I know to start studying ahead
So that the night before next test, I can be in bed ;
Getting out at 2:15 tomorrow is definitely a perk
A small Celebration is necessary so I don’t go beserk
And after that I can surely doze
Since it has been a long weekend, don’t cha knows?

Once the test is done, we will all throw out a whistle,
A trick we learned from Julie Johnson one day during BaP, before class dismissal.
Ferguson will take the our tests and disappear out of sight—
Yelling “Happy Monday to all, and to all a good night!”



Well that is all I have for now- I should ACTUALLY go study now.  Next time I post I will have lost my innocence as a pharmacy student, having completed one real test.


Class of 2018, let the odds be ever in our favor!


H.O.P.E Clinic orientation, Kappa Psi Laser Tag Night, and MSHP Mid-year Clinical Meeting

Hi Everyone!

Time sure flies quickly when we are in school. It is almost mid-end September! So far, the start of September has been exciting with meeting old & new faces, attending events and lunch meetings to learn more about student organizations, and networking with pharmacists at MSHP mid-year clinical meeting.

1. HOPE Clinic Orientation:

On September 13th, HOPE executive board from medical and pharmacy school held orientation session for P1 students interested in volunteering at student-run, non-profit clinic in the heart of downtown Duluth. For those of you who are unfamiliar, HOPE clinic is equivalent of Phillips Neighborhood Clinic in Twin Cities. We serve underserved populations and CHUM residents ( by examining their basic health issues, and making referrals to nearby clinics if needed.


The orientation itself was separated into three sessions : 1. learning how to take blood pressures, 2. being introduced to the roles in the clinic, 3. tour of the clinic and AICHO (pharmacy located about 3 blocks away). After Ben and I introduced the first year students to taking blood pressures, I ran to the kitchen and joined Allison (2nd year medical student) and helped her with preparing lunch for CHUM residents. After the tour ended, the students sat down with CHUM residents and chatted with them over ham (or turkey) sandwiches, cookies, and chocolate milk. Overall, it was an integral part of the introduction to the year-long service we will provide to the CHUM residents and the community.

2. Kappa Psi Laser Tag Night

Fast forward to the 16th, was the night of laser tag with Kappa Psi brothers, plus first year pharmacy students. It was a lot of fun playing laser tag and arcade game at the Adventure Zone near the harbor in Downtown Duluth.


P1s & P2s & P3s don’t mess around.


SyHui, Elaine, Jaimie and I = Kappa Psi brothers 4 Life

3. MSHP Mid-year Clinical Meeting


mshp lecture

mshp residency showcase

MSHP (Minnesota Society of Health-System Pharmacists) held their mid-year clinical meeting at the Earle Brown Heritage Center located in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. We had to drive on the day at 4 am (now, why would you do that??) but it was totally worth it. The whole day was filled with key note speakers from different hospitals, including Mayo Clinic, Fairview Hospital, and University of Minnesota Medical Center, and more. One particularly interesting presentation talked about Serotonin Syndrome and the difference between SS and NMS. It was interesting that the two diseases are similar in symptoms but their treatments vary according to their condition, so it is imperative to be able to distinguish between them. After the presentations, we also had a residency showcase to learn more about different residency programs offered by schools and hospitals across Minnesota and Mid-West. I had a chance to talk with Dr. Tamara Bezdicek from Fairview hospital in the ICU unit. She showed us around the industry showcase and talked with sales representatives from different pharmaceutical companies. It was an amazing day being able to learn about healthcare issues and meet new people and talk to the residents, sales representatives, and fellow students from Twin Cities campus.

mshp friends

Throw-back Thursday

Hi everyone! After a nice relaxing weekend away with some relatives in Wisconsin, I am back to week two of real classes.  Though I am definitely one week busier than I was last week, I am also one week wiser. As much as people stressed how pharmacy school is not like undergrad, I did not really believe it until…. just about now.  You know how one cat year is about seven human years? (or is it dog years? sorry, I am a cat person).  Well I am going to make an extreme over-exaggeration and similarly state that one pharmacy week probably equals about seven undergrad weeks. While it is probably more like a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio, you get the idea… they stuff a lot of stuff into each week.   I thought it would thus be fitting to talk about some of the main differences between my schooling in undergrad and  now in my own godogblog style #tbt.

1) The quick glance:

To clearly illustrate one major difference, lets take a quick look at all of my classes I am taking:

Screenshot 2014-09-16 09.11.13

A bit frightening, huh?  In undergrad, I was accustomed to taking four classes each quarter, maybe three is I was feeling a bit lazy (*cough*cough second semester senior).  So twelve?? That is a bit of a jump (see what I mean with cat years and human years?).  I honestly think I also need to make some flashcards for myself for the different codes for all the different classes; it is not very helpful getting an email with the subject (PHAR 62XX) and having no idea which one is which!

Before any prospective students out there look at this and stay far, far,away, I’ll explain how it is really not as many as one would think and they are not all required.  First and foremost, I was a bit over zealous and signed up for 3 electives… Don’t do that.  Live and learn, right? But let’s go through them: PHAR 6700 is done. PHAR 5201 is online.  PHAR 6204 is just an audit necessary for participation in all community outreach events. PharmD First year seminar, PHAR 6206 (research) and SPAN 144 (medical spanish), only meet once per week. All of the others (Integrated Biochemical Sciences, Foundations of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, Drug Delivery, Pharmaceutical Care Skills and Foundations of Pharmaceutical Care) are the traditional-meet-two-or-three-times-a-week for-one-to-two hours type of classes that I am used to…. but are still actually very different, which segues perfectly into my next point.

2) The actual learning

One of the other main differences between pharmacy school and undergrad is simply how the material is presented. As a science major at a large research university, I was used to having three things on the syllabus for most of my classes: midterm 1, midterm 2 and final. I will hold off on posting the syllabus for any of my new classes for comparison, simply because it would require multiple pictures!

Along with having a few traditional exams in my new classes, there are also many other assignments such as quizzes, group projects, reflection papers, case studies, patient interviews and literature review projects. Likewise, rather than just sitting and listening to lectures that require no interaction on my part (which is a very dangerous thing in the world of smartphones), the classes here are much more interactive, with many in-class activities and group discussions. While having three tests to cram for each quarter was definitely easier for me to wrap my head in terms of scheduling out my life, I am so grateful that these classes require me to constantly think in different ways and apply many different type of skills other than raw test taking ability.  Plus, we all know that cramming is not the most effective learning method so I think the diversity assignments will help me retain the information better.  Additionally, because I finally jumped on the actually-having-and-maintaining-a-calendar bandwagon, keeping track of everything is actually not so bad (plus, our awesome class reps  created a Google-doc that keeps track of everything too!).

3) Yes, We love technology

A unique aspect of our school is that fact we have two campuses; in order to foster the feel of “one program, two campuses”, most of our classes are done using communication technology (ITV). Imagine this: one room full of thirteen tables, all with several microphones and two TVs.  The bottom screen is where the professor presents the material via PowerPoint or Doc Cam, and the top shows a view of the students in the other classroom. If a student from either campus has a question, he or she must use the microphone at the table.  Here is the fun part:  the microphones are magically connected to cameras that know which microphone is being used,  so the  speaker’s face shows up on the top screen when he or she starts talking. I think everyone remembers that terribly awkward moment on the first day when we all had to introduce ourselves via ITV for the first time…… I’m pretty sure I looked straight into the microphone, rather than the camera.  I know better now than to make such a rookie mistake!  The ITV  interaction is an integral part of our classes and it always feels that something is missing during the Non-ITV classes.

4) iHaveTooManyAppleProducts

Another main adjustment for me has been the transition to electronic note taking. In the past, I have been a huge pen and paper fan, due to the facts that I didn’t feel like lugging my laptop around and that typing up biochemical structures is pretty much  impossible. However, since we are required to have some device to bring to class everyday, I decided that requirement was a good enough excuse to get a nice light-weight iPad to complete my Apple trifecta  (iPhone, iPad and iBook). The addition of thousands of dollars magically appearing into my bank account (aka student loans) also helped confirm my decision….. I’ll worry about those later. So far, the iPad has been extremely nice for annotating lecture slides and reading our free ebooks. I have decided to stay with the old-fashioned pen and paper for biochemistry, simply because the lecture moves faster than my stylus skills can handle….. but for all my other classes, it is so nice having the satisfaction of saving the rain forests from reduced paper use! As a side note, I have decided that the definition of harmony should be that glorious moment when your iPhone, iBook and iPad seamlessly sync every document, reminder or calendar event you set…. It also makes it impossible to forget about anything since three items are dinging and vibrating to remind you to do your drug delivery quiz.

So those are the big four differences. The only way these big changes are all manageable is due to one difference I did not even bother to mention: I have the same people in all of my classes! Having the support of my classmates both inside and outside of class has already been an invaluable part of my experience here.  I know as I progress in my studies, the collaboration among my classmates will become even more important.

That is all!I promise next week I will have something more exciting to talk about as I am going to the MSHP mid-year conference tomorrow morning.  Though my first-year self is a bit nervous to attend a professional conference, I know there is no better time to get my feet wet and do some hard-core networking.

Go Gophers!

Alphabet Soup

After three weeks of Becoming a Pharmacist, we are finally student pharmacists!


Which also means we no longer have class for six hours every day! It also meant that starting last Friday, everyone’s inbox began exploding with e-mails about the first meetings from the different student organizations.  As many of us have been spending the last month wondering what organizations we were going to join, it was nice to finally find out more specifics about each organization.  However, I also began to have flashbacks to high school and learning about all of FDR’s New Deal Programs as almost all of the organizations go by their initial.

Alphabet Soup

After attending at least one meeting almost every day this last week, I think I am finally figuring out what I want to get involved in; though I still haven’t decided whether or not I am going to/if I even want to join a fraternity. Decisions, decisions!! For now my “for sures” include MPSA and the HOPE Clinic. MPSA is sort of the umbrella organization for doing Health Fairs, community education, and for joining other organizations.  The HOPE Clinic is a free clinic in Duluth; you can read more about it here. There are also a few more that I am fairly certain I want to join, but the first meetings are during this upcoming week, so we shall see…

Duluth Day!

I’m a little late on posting pictures from Duluth Day.. They made it to my Facebook so feel free to creep on my page and check them out. It was SUCH A FUN NIGHT! Shout out to Elizabeth and the entire College Board e-board for all of their hard work in putting together the event. And a big shout out to all who worked to put on the GAPSA events on Saturday. I attempted to make it to the run, but let’s be real, I don’t run. But I bought a shirt! That’s practically the same thing right?!

I’m getting my exercise in other ways, though. I started taking advantage of UMD’s group fitness classes. Yoga, Zuma, Oula, so much fun! I even bought a fitness pass for the semester! I’m now a third year, and this is the first time I actually purchased a pass. I’m hoping the pharmily will motivate me to keep going to the classes. If anybody wants to join us for any of the classes, get your pass and let me know! At the very least, you’ll be entertained by me in sweat pants attempting to Oula.

Hope you all enjoy your weekend. I’ll leave you with a few select pictures from Duluth Day.


Becoming a Pharmacist: check!

Hello everyone! On the day of my completion of the “Becoming a Pharmacist” orientation course, I thought I would give everyone an update on the past few weeks in pharmacy school.  I will start with what is the most fresh in my mind: yesterdays’s White Coat Ceremony!  Receiving my white coat was a fantastic way to put closure to the “Becoming a Pharmacist” course; since the ceremony was our official “entry into the profession”, I think it only makes sense that we spent the past three weeks learning about all the aspects of the field so we really knew what we are getting into when we finally got to put on the coat!

Also, that morning in class we spent an hour learning about networking and mentoring  from 13 of the most prominent pharmacists in the state; what better way to spend the last few hours before our official entry into the profession than with some of the most accomplished and innovative pharmacists in the state (and country!)   Sitting in the room and personally connecting with each of our individual tables were multiple directors of pharmacy in local hospitals, owners of independent pharmacists, and even a former president of MPhA… no big deal.

While the white coat represents our entry into the profession, it also represents the beginning of our new “job” for the next four years as a pharmacy students. The “Becoming a Pharmacist” class definitely involved its fair share of assignments, but most of them have been creative and reflective.  Starting Monday, we switch gears completely and dive into classes like Drug Delivery, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical care: just a tad different than drawing on paper plates, writing letters to ourselves and making digital stories.  Regardless, I know both myself and all my other classmates are ready to take on the new challenges of our upcoming classes as we will  finally begin to gain the clinical skills and knowledge that serve as the foundation of our profession.



This past week we have also been bombarded by alphabet soup.  By alphabet soup, I mean student organizations.  MPSO, MPSA, AMCP, APha, ASHP, the list goes on and on.   I am just becoming somewhat literate in the language of student organizations, which gets even more complicated when you throw a little bit of greek in there! (Phi Delta Chi, Kappa Epsilon and Kappa Psi are the names of Professional Fraternities on campus). Regardless, us P1s are all happily learning about all these different organizations… not only is it exciting to learn about all the different volunteer, networking and leadership opportunities available through these organizations, but the free pizza, cookies, Chinese food and dilly bars does not hurt ether.

Hopefully, by the time I blog again, I will have a better idea on what organizations I plan to join.  As tempting as it is to do EVERYTHING, I understand that being a part of a few organizations that I am truly passionate about trumps being loosely involved in everything (although, I would never have to bring lunch if I did everything!)  MPSA president and P3 student Ernie Ruiz  shared a relevant quote by Martina Navratilova  during his speech at the White Coat Ceremony: “The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.”  Thus, I plan to embrace my inner Pig (as weird as that sounds) and choose a few organizations to commit to that can provide an opportunity for me to grow as a pharmacist and a leader.


And what I have been doing in the rest of the hours of the day when I am not at school or working on projects? Along with enjoying the new U and Mn recreation center (which is basically two gyms in one) and finally mastering the tunnel system, I also went to the famous Minnesota State Fair. Some highlights from the fair:

1)  I got suckered in to buying a fancy ceramic plate that can magically puree garlic and ginger….the saleswomen definitely had “woo” as one of her strengths… this is referring to another activity we did in “Becoming a Pharmacist”  in which we discovered our top five strengths from the Strengthfinder 2.0 book.

2) Baby pigs… enough said

3) Fried food…   The theme at the fair seems to be that if you cannot eat it on a stick or if it isn’t fried, you shouldn’t be eating it…. unless they are sweet Martha’s cookies.  Those are allowed.

2014-08-26 19.56.26 2014-08-26 19.42.56 2014-08-26 18.40.59 2014-08-26 18.30.55 2014-08-26 18.22.22 2014-08-26 20.26.03


Anyways, I am going to spend a nice weekend relaxing before the grind of pharmacy begins.  Go gophers!

Third Time’s a Charm

Aaaannnnd I’m back for round 3 of pharmacy school! And while I’m excited to be back for my last year in the classroom, I must say, I’m very sad that summer is over. Aside from my IPPE, I spent my entire summer doing absolutely nothing! And while that sounds terrible, it was very relaxing for my last summer EVER. I woke up and did whatever I felt like doing that day. For any of you second years who are already planning what to do with your upcoming summer.. try nothing! Once you get rid of that nagging voice in the back of your head telling you to be productive, doing nothing is great.

Of course, I now have to get back into the swing of school. We haven’t even had a full week of school and so much has already happened, and so much more to come this weekend. It was great catching up with everybody on day 1. Day 2 was the first College Board meeting of the year! I’m excited to see where we can go with some of the changes we are planning as an e-board. Stay tuned for whats coming up and of course, everybody is welcome to join us on Wednesdays over the lunch hour (I had to get my plug in there).

Yesterday (Day 3), I had the pleasure of speaking at the PD I White Coat to welcome the first years to the COP. It was so great to be a part of the special evening. Although mine feels like a blur, it was great to see all of the first years get their coats and walk across that stage as they join us in the journey of a lifetime. Hopefully, my speech (which may have been recorded? stay tuned..) inspired them to get involved and really dive into the experience. I hope to get to personally meet all of you soon, but just be aware. I am TERRIBLE at remembering names, don’t take it personally!

Today, it’s finally Friday. Which unfortunately started with Jennifer singing that AWFUL song by Rebecca Black in the commons (Don’t hate me Nay-Nay!). But after class it should start to look up. Duluth Day is tonight, and I’m SUPER EXCITED. Elizabeth has planned a really fun night for us, and the entire ebaord has helped gather some amazing prizes to be raffled off! And tomorrow there’s a White Coat 5k, Dual Fraternity BBQ, and a GAPSA dinner! I’m still deciding whether or not I want to embarrass myself by attempting to run the 5k, but I’ll definitely be present all day. I hope to see all of your readers out there at all of this weekends events. Stay tuned for pictures!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!

200 Days of Summer

Hope everyone had a fantabulous summer! I sure had a great summer and secretly wish that the summer could be a bit longer! 🙂 But I guess it’s time to face the real world and learn some more about pharmacy!

WHOAAAAAAA! I can’t believe I’m actually going to be a PD3! ALREADY! Where did the time go?!??!?! That means one more year of classes and then I’m off to rotations! WHOAAAAAAAA! CRAZYYYYYYYY. Okay, enough with this. Let’s do a lil recap of my summer, shall we?

1. Internship full-time at a home infusion pharmacy

2. Nexflix marathon – enough said 🙂

3. IPPE at Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital

Unlike last year, students after second-year are required to do a three-week rotations at a hospital. I was fortunate enough to have been assigned to my top choice at Methodist Hospital. Very rigorous and packed schedule! I was assigned to a different pharmacist each day and had the opportunity to observe what they do on a daily basis, whether it’s verifying med orders, warfarin dosing, you name it! I also got to observe some of the tech roles and got to do some unit dosing, delivery, and pulling meds. Very different from where I work since I mainly compound IV drugs at my internship. One of the coolest things was that I was able to observe a hip replacement surgery! Didn’t think I could handle the bloodiness of the surgery but I made it! It was absolutely fascinating to watch!

b1Since our IPPE overlaps with the forth-year’s APPE, we were able to participate in some workshop and discussions together. Here’s Jon holding a bag of fluid. We were out of IV poles.

4. First-year Student Organization Fair 

As the name suggests, we had to show the first-year students what’s hot at the COP!


Representing PDX!!

5. Last but not least…. State fair!

If you live in Minnesota and have never been to the state fair, you’re definitely missing out! Did you know our state fair is the second largest in the nation? I mean I’ve always known it was huge…. but wow! Anyway, as a foodie, I just had to go to the state fair! TWICE! I stepped up my game this year and tried a lot of the new food. And of course I suffered from food coma instantaneously from all the fatty goodness….. Was it worth it? OH YEAH.





Alright, until next time! Off to my first day of school!